Hundreds of Morson Track Operatives working on the London Underground are being given rainbow-striped laces for their safety boots in celebration and support of the LGBT community. Manchester-headquartered Morson International, which supplies contingent and skilled labour across the UK rail infrastructure, is presenting each of its Track Operatives with the unmissable eye-catching laces.
In addition to them forming part of the Operatives’ uniform, all contractors are being thoroughly briefed on the meaning behind the laces, whilst also receiving new training in fairness, inclusion and respect to encourage discussions and promote openness and acceptance. The introduction of the new laces follows the huge Pride celebrations that took place in the capital. Significantly, the initiative has been devised to run permanently, shining a spotlight on commitments by Morson and London Underground to continuously support the LGBT community.
The laces are just one element of a wider commitment to equality, diversity and inclusion by Morson. As members of LGBT charity Stonewall’s Diversity Champions programme, Morson has committed to ensuring all of its candidates are encouraged to be themselves at work, driving performance, engagement and innovation.
Through its involvement with Stonewall, Morson aims to collaborate, learn and share cutting-edge best practice and initiatives with its partners, equipping them with the skills to recruit diverse talent.
“We do a lot of work behind the scenes to support LGBT communities and this campaign is about making that commitment visible,” says Gareth Morris, group director of health, safety, quality and environmental at Morson. “We’re looking to build a network of true allies, helping people to feel safe and welcome when they use the London Underground or join its workforce. It’s something that many of us take for granted, but we cannot underestimate the importance of visibly defining public spaces, such as the Tube as inclusive, safe places for everyone.
“It was important to us that this wasn’t just a flash-in-the-pan campaign, meaning our Operatives will be proudly wearing the rainbow stripe permanently, just as our commitment to LGBT support is constant and lasting,” he added.
As this campaign seeks to demonstrate support for LGBT workers in the industry, a number of initiatives are underway across the rail sector to promote diversity.
TfL’s striking Pride campaign saw station signs transformed with the colours of three pride flags, representing Gay Pride, Bisexual Pride and Trans Pride. Not only did it embrace the More Colour More Pride movement in incorporating black and brown stripes into the rainbow flag to represent the BAME LGBT community, but 2019 marked the first use of the Bi Pride flag, with is pink and purple colourway.
Network Rail’s Archway network for LGBT employees also gives staff the opportunity to influence policy-making across the business and allows members to meet colleagues in more sociable settings through talks and events up and down the country.
Sam Price, head of client engagement at Morson, added: “Working for equality, diversity and inclusion has real impact, not just on the lives of individuals from all walks of life, but in creating diverse cultures and broader empathy in workplaces across the country. We understand the complexities of widening participation in UK industry, and take our commitment to this very seriously.
“The rail industry as a whole is working hard to improve diversity of all kinds, including its gender split and proportion of disabled, BAME and LGBT employees,” added Sam. “By collaborating with a number of organisations and taking inspiration from others, including those outside of our industry, it’s our goal to become a leader in diversity and inclusion for the rail industry.”
Kate Williams, head of private memberships at Stonewall, concluded: “Wearing rainbow laces is a really positive way for Morson’s workers to show their support for lesbian, gay, bi and trans communities. Through our Diversity Champions programme, we’re working with Morson to help them build a truly inclusive workplace culture.”